Wikipedia describes "artisan" as:

An artisan ... or craftsman ... is a skilled manual worker who makes items that may be functional or strictly decorative, including furniture, sculpture, clothing, jewellery, household items and tools or even machines such as the handmade devices of a watchmaker. Artisans practice a craft and may through experience and aptitude reach the expressive levels of an artist.

Since the nineties writing source code for software has been looked upon as something that you can only do well through lots of experience, almost like an art. There have been tons of books that suggest it is more of an art than a science. While I get the mindset that people had back then, computer programming has evolved, tools and frameworks have been developed so that it takes less experience to write code of good quality.

Right now, I'm writing something on computer programming, and I'm wondering if there's a word equal to "artisan", but with a more scientific connotation.

By the way: I'm not sure the word "synonym" is the correct term for this question, so if somebody has a more fitting word, feel free to edit the question.

  • Professional.....?
    – WS2
    Mar 25, 2014 at 9:25
  • Craftsman as mentioned
    – mplungjan
    Mar 25, 2014 at 10:18
  • Scientific or not, artisan is used in certain domains/ professions where it has a specific usage. You can look up synonyms, but you can only use that which is applicable in a given context. For instance, some contexts/professions use 'tradesman' and would not understand/accept other equivalent terms. HTH.
    – Kris
    Mar 25, 2014 at 11:16
  • Or perhaps crafter.
    – bib
    Mar 25, 2014 at 14:52

5 Answers 5


The other common description of programmers is engineer and I find that this contrasts nicely with artisan:

engineer —

a person trained in any branch of the profession of engineering ~ (dictionary.com)

An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics, and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical, societal and commercial problems. ~ (Wikipedia)

artisan — a person skilled in an applied art; a craftsperson.

For completeness:

scientist — an expert in science, especially one of the physical or natural sciences.

By the way, another relevant term:

hacker — A hacker is an adherent of the subculture that originally emerged in academia in the 1960s, around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)'s Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) and MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Modern usage of "hacker" has changed significantly from its 1960s usage but this would be good synonym of your usage of "artisan".

  • The world is currently over-engineered. The term has broadened so in the last several decades that it's losing most real meaning. Apr 13, 2015 at 11:51

A technician is someone who has fairly advanced technical skills and techniques, but lacks an in-depth understanding of the background/theoretical knowledge of the field as a whole.

  • Sorry arvbelle, I missed your answer completely. ?? Apr 13, 2015 at 15:16
  • 1
    Thanks for the apology and (I presume) the upvote. This was my first Stack answer ever, so I was kinda miffed, but the apology turns the experience round completely :-)
    – arvbelle
    Apr 20, 2015 at 19:46

I would suggest 'a professional'.


If you're trying to convey that writing code is more mechanical and less creative than it was two decades ago, then a phrase like "jobbing coder" or "journeyman coder" might serve.




A technician is a worker in a field of technology who is proficient in the relevant skills and techniques, with a relatively practical understanding of the theoretical principles.

The word is often shortened to "tech", as in lab-tech.

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